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Dig in! It's time to turn sandcastles into art

Calling all Swansea children, families, communities, art and beach lovers!


Sandcastle builders from around the city are being urged to join a unique project.

It will see bucket and spade handlers of all ages and abilities create a one-off art installation on Swansea Beach.

They will build hundreds of sandcastles in the shape of famous mountains.

The event is being run by staff from Swansea Council's Glynn Vivian Art Gallery on behalf of artist Katie Paterson as part of her initiative First There is a Mountain.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come together and spend quality time having fun and making a statement about our planet.

"I urge all those who enjoy Swansea's outstanding beach to get involved; as we celebrate 50 years as a city this is a great opportunity to enjoy our natural world in a new way."

Karen McKinnon, curator of the Glynn Vivian, said: "It will be wonderful to see the people of Swansea enjoy this experience. Their unique participation will be essential to the evolution of this artwork and experience.

"We are looking for Swansea residents and visitors to take part in a number of ways - as a volunteer and guide, as a mountain range builder or as a spectator of this unique and spectacular event. It will be a great day out for all the family!"

First There is a Mountain is a UK-wide participatory artwork event taking place this summer in 25 locations around the UK, from Swansea to Inverness. It will visit many galleries in Plus Tate network, a group of visual arts organisations that share ideas, experiences, practices and programmes.  

The Glynn Vivian is a partner of Tate, and exchanges programmes, ideas and skills with the Plus Tate network.

First There is a Mountain will visit Swansea on Sunday, May 5 - on the May Bank Holiday weekend - from 2-3pm on the beach next to the Civic Centre.

Participants will use a specially designed set of fully bio-compostable buckets and spades in the form of world mountains to sculpt beaches into thousands of miniature mountain ranges.

Each set will include a scale model of a world-famous mountain - Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Shasta (USA), Mount Fuji (Asia), Stromboli (Europe) or Uluru (Oceania).

New pieces of writing commissioned to accompany the artwork's journey include one by Swansea born art writer Lizzie Lloyd. This will be read aloud at the start of the event.

Katie Paterson said: "From early childhood we understand that sand marks time. First There is a Mountain builds upon this concept, making us aware of the erosion of mountain rocks over millennia, rock shifting across Earth through the evolution of continents, forming unique fingerprints of sand across our modern coastline.

"The artwork invites people to slow down and consider the interconnectedness of the world, its immensity conveyed in miniature."

Glynn Vivian would love you to join them! To find out more about how to take part please email

Photo Glynn Vivian Art Gallery staff get ready for Swansea's First There is a Mountain activity. They are, from left, exhibitions officer Katy Freer, marketing officer Laura Gill, exhibitions assistant Charlotte Thomas.

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